Letting go of perfect: by Maria De Leon

“if you are interested in happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book .” Lemony Sniket, A Series of UNFORTUNATE Events

These last few days, although terribly exciting have been spent in a hurried frenzy. Partially, due to my daughter’s hectic schedule, planning activities for Parkinson’s awareness month, and Easter weekend around the corner. Plus not to mention pulling all night-ers while attempting to finish writing my Spanish book on top of all my OTHER responsibilities.

Yet,  when I was invited to be spokesperson for Parkinson’s foundation for Hispanic community, I jumped at the opportunity to raise awareness and encourage further participation in clinical research.

As I am KNOWN to do when I have a task to complete, I become hyper focused with  tunnel vision. However, I am learning to let go of perfect. This profound revelations has not happened over night and in no way fully mastered. If it were the case, I would get myself and family to church more often. Instead of wasting precious time fighting to get into my nice dresses and figure out a way to keep make-up from running down my face because sweaty decided to pay me a visit; which he seems to time perfectly when I want to look my best. Imagine My wild MANE not so proudly dripping like an open faucet. Of course, the beautiful Spanish fan my dear friend Alex gave me a year ago is nearly falling apart from the speed with which I furiously attempt to cool myself off and send my little friend packing. Unfortunately, he always finds his way home no matter how far I send him. Needless to say I feel, I have become like Martha in the Bible. Instead of worrying about having a perfect appearance for God, I should concentrate only on enjoying my time with Him and with those that matter most. He along with those closest to have seen me at my worst. So a few fashion faux pas from a nauseated, stiff, slow shuffling, extremely overheated women attempting to look graceful as she ascends the stairs to the sanctuary might not be such a big deal to God or anyone else for that matter.Image result for images of imperfect things

Having 7 radio talk shows in a single day, you can imagined triggered-my alter ego-control freak to go on super high alert. Even though, I managed to suppress these urges, a bit reared its head. First, I withheld my amantadine and sleeping pill so that I would be able to function better than usual so early in the am. Plus, forming cohesive sentences during my interview was critical which meant more dopamine. Then I tried 4 outfits to make sure I looked my best for national radio live streaming of face to face interview with Dra. Isabella -“The angel of the radio.” Funny thing, you could not tell what I was wearing and I wore myself out even more. Had I not try to control how I looked as much or worried about how embarrassed I would feel if I stumbled speaking do to short-term memory loss from anticholinergic. I would not have had this morning’s episode. Trying to do it all with little or no sleep in last 48hours led to me experiencing a full array of emotions in the most inappropriate of ways.

I had been craving waffles drenched [usually drizzled but I like my sugar] in caramel layered with praline covered nuts. The sugar craving only increases with extended brain activity. Since, both my husband and I been so busy this morning was our chance to connect over sugar treats which made me almost giddy. But my exuberant mood rapidly came tumbling down when the server said they did not have what I was looking for. Did they not understand that it not me but my BRAIN needing it’s  sugar fix to feel normal and only the caramel, praline nuts would suffice! Sure, I was disappointed. But, when the tears began to roll down my check, I knew my brain had enough. Of course, my husband was dumbfounded by my obvious emotional reaction to breakfast food.

I could have let it ruin my breakfast along with entire day. Instead I shushed away Mr. insane and told my brain to please send Mr.. happy down with the clowns because what we had was a BIG circus in the making.  Then, I pulled up my chair, leaving perfect behind, for a better view and brought my family for a ride in the merry go-round.

Remember not to sweat the small stuff for is in these rare moments where memories are created and bonding occurs. SO, next time you stumble make it part of the dance; but whatever you do- don’t stop dancing!

 

OH, the places you will Go!: By Maria De Leon

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” Dr. Seuss, Oh the places You’ll Go!Image result for pd tulip logo

I love this time of year, not just because the weather is beginning to change although living in Texas sometimes it seems like we just have hot, hotter, drenching sweat or can’t move humidity. Nevertheless, we have gorgeous days like today where there is a clear blue sky with a gentle breeze and perfect 66 degrees. Suddenly, your mood is uplifted and all seems right with the world. But, also because this is the time of year when we raise awareness for PD which means not only do I get to spend more time pursing my passion;  but I get to travel to meet wonderful people who share my same passion and illness. When I travel as I did just last week, to Lubbock to the Southwestern Parkinson’s Society conference, I am always impressed by my agility and ability to flutter along unencumbered by my usual companions (symptoms of  Parkinson’s). At least temporarily until they catch up with me, hard as I try to lose them.

On the way to whatever destination I am bound for, I am always ecstatic by the possibilities especially when I travel with friends or schedule to meet friends along the way. However, inevitably my old friend shows up with its entourage of little dwarfs for the party: jerky, sleepy, clumsy, Reggie rigid, sweaty, and sometimes plain dumb. Once they arrive uninvited without party streamers, confetti or balloons, I am transported back to my cell without as much as a gift  or slice of birthday cake. As the scent of freedom and the image of a woman who is Parkinson free lingers in the air like an afterthought, I begin to choke on my lunch. In the commotion of it all my  inner Diva    pulls out  a song which has become sort of an anthem for me,”It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to….You would cry too if it happened to you.”  Invariably, listening to this sound track play over and over (because of OCD) in my head, puts me  in a happy mood realizing the triviality of it all taking into account how lucky I really am to be     allowed to be a part of so many great people.  At times although, It  may feel like we are inside a prison, the truth Is that the cell doors to the jail are WIDE-OPEN, there are no chains and no one is holding us back! we are just as free as ever to do what we want with our  lives.

However, we must remember that in order to be productive and effective advocates, mom’s, wives, friends, exercising  our  freedom with enough energy to bolt out of  our prison cells and comfort zones ( to live a fuller life despite chronic illness – ), we must find time to recharge. We all recharge differently. Despite being an extrovert which thrives on having friends and family near by, I need my quiet time and rest.  Traveling although exhilarating can be terribly exhausting especially when I have to deal with ill behaved companions who show up at the most inopportune times. Thus, when I return I need down time- usually in form of undisturbed sleep away from uninvited guest who   have over stayed their welcome. No matter your method to recharge; it is imperative that you do so. I know that is never easy to carve time away from your responsibilities to step back and pamper yourself. For me it requires depending on others to fill in the gap when resting and rebooting. I would love to be the ‘super’ woman who can master it all with a single bound. However, it is impossible to act independently even when you are  100% healthy much less when you live with a chronic neurodegenerative disease (i.e. PD).  If I should try to go at it alone, I am sure to make many mistakes along the way and make my symptoms worse. Thus,  sleeping 10 hours when possible is not a bad compromise to allow me to sharpen my skills to be better at what I do- writer, advocate, teacher, mentor, mom, wife, sister, and friend. As  I lie down to  sleep,  I think this is in preparation for continuing to dream, travel, and inspire others to become all they are meant to be despite their PD busting the cell doors of their prison wide open to see beyond themselves to help others in their journey as I strive to do as well.

So, in the end knowing that my life has a purpose and I am free to go out whenever I choose out of my own cell to travel and encourage others in their walk with Parkinson’s –  even when I have to  frequently face and deal with my pesky companions who are always at the door looking to crash my party. I will still gladly sing “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to..” But, instead of tears of defeat, frustration, sadness, or regret I will happily shed tears of joy and gratitude for the people I have met along the way and the places I will go thanks to my PD. You too would cry if it happened to you!

 

Remember to #uniteforparkinsons

#together4PD  on this April Month